31 Jan, 2008
Published: 08:01 Thursday 31 January
By: Charlie Parker, Investment Editor
chief executive of F&C Investments Alain Grisay has said he is
confident the firm can continue as a standalone business as Friends
Provident sells its majority stake.
Shares in the asset manager fell slightly on the news, dropping 1%
to 188p by 8.30am.
Though Friends has said it is exploring every option to release its
stake in F&C it has also said it wants the matter resolved by
Grisay told Citywire that he has appointed Lazard and Lexicon
Partners to advise it on the change in ownership. Grisay said that
all options, including a management buy out, would be explored but
that it was too early to say whether finance could be achieved for
The news comes as the firm discloses its asset under management
figures which while showing a tail off in overall assets under
management from £104.1 billion to £103.6 billion show
resilience in its higher margin UK retail business
He said: 'We have appointed advisers to make sure all solutions
are explored. Morale is incredibly strong and there is a strong
belief in the three year plan, the continuation of that plan will
be the driving force.'
His comments came minutes after Friends Provident (FP.) said it is
selling the business which it believes is no longer central to its
Grisay also said that the assets F&C Investments (FCAM) runs
for Friends Provident, which account for 30.4% of its assets under
management, or 13% of its revenue, will continue to be managed on a
contractual basis. The contract is automatically triggered by the
change of ownership and lasts for seven years.
The executive chairman of Friends Provident Adrian Montague has
said that this contract is secure and he is pleased with
F&C's performance in recent years.
Grisay said: 'Let me say from the outset that at F&C we see
this change as a way to open up new opportunities. Friends
Provident has been clear that it recognises the need to work with
the board and management of F&C to achieve their new strategy
objective and will not be rushed into a disorderly process.
'Asset management is a people business so working with F&C
is vital to maximise the value of the assets in F&C which is a
separate listed business.
'We believe F&C has excellent prospects as a standalone
company. Over the last year we have delivered strong investment
performance across products and executed a significant number of
new products launches and begun extending our